Police Engaging In Improper Tactics of Delay In Providing a Defendant With Miranda Warnings

A situation in which the police did engage in improper tactics was addressed by the Supreme Court of Florida in Ramirez v. State, 739 So. 2d 568 (Fla. 1999), where the police delayed providing a seventeen-year-old defendant with his Miranda warnings until after he made incriminating statements, and when those warnings were finally provided, the officers undertook a "concerted effort to minimize and downplay the significance of the Miranda rights." Id. at 575. After examining In Oregon v. Elstad, 470 U.S. 298, 105 S. Ct. 1285, 84 L. Ed. 2d 222 (1985) this Court held that determining whether a subsequent confession is voluntarily given requires an examination of the totality of the circumstances. Id This Court concluded that the circumstances surrounding the statements in Ramirez were distinguishable from Elstad First, although the officers had probable cause to arrest Ramirez at the time of questioning, they delayed providing Miranda warnings until after he made incriminating statements. Then the police failed to provide him with a careful and thorough administration of Miranda warnings, instead minimizing the significance of the warnings. This Court found that the officers in that case instead employed a concerted effort to minimize and downplay the significance of the Miranda rights, thus exploiting the statements previously made to the officers so that Ramirez would not exercise his rights. Ramirez, 739 So. 2d at 576. This Court noted that Ramirez had just turned seventeen years old and that the officers in that case lulled the young defendant into a false sense of security by telling the suspect that they were not arresting him and did not permit him to contact his parents before questioning. Id. at 574, 576-77. Finally, the officers administered the Miranda rights orally and did not secure a written waiver until after Ramirez had fully confessed to his involvement in the crime. Id. at 578. This Court therefore held that Ramirez's confession should have been suppressed. Id. The plurality stated that the following facts were relevant to whether Miranda warnings delivered "midstream" could be effective in accomplishing their object: "the completeness and detail of the questions and answers in the first round of interrogation, the overlapping content of the two statements, the timing and setting of the first and the second interrogations, the continuity of police personnel, and the degree to which the interrogator's questions treated the second round as continuous with the first." Id. at 615. The plurality explained that the circumstances of Seibert's interrogation "challenge the comprehensibility and efficacy of the Miranda warnings to the point that a reasonable person in the suspect's shoes would not have understood them to convey a message that she retained a choice about continuing to talk." Id. at 617.